Restoration ecologist to give talk on native plant gardening

October 20, 2022

Restoration ecologist Amy Thomsen will discuss why to use native plants in landscapes and the benefits to gardening with them in a free Camden Garden Club lecture Thursday, October 27.

The one-hour talk is open to the general public and will also be live streamed on Zoom from the Camden American Legion, located at 91 Pearl Street in Camden. Refreshments will be offered and guests are welcome to attend in person or join from home free of charge by registering in advance for the Zoom link here.

In her talk, Thomsen will explain how cultivar plants offer little ecological value to wildlife and take the place of value-added natives. She will also discuss where to source safely grown native plants and provide criteria for selecting safe natives.

“The benefits to gardening with native plants include: saving money and water, better adaptation to local weather, lower maintenance, restoring natural habitat, and using no fertilizer or pesticides,” according to Thomsen.

The popularity of native plants and the interest in gardening with them has taken off in recent years, according to the Camden Garden Club, which supported Camden’s first ever native plant sale this past September at the Camden Public Library. The Wild Seed Project member-run event was founded and spearheaded by Thomsen in collaboration with more than half a dozen local native plant nurseries and over a dozen supporting like-minded organizations. It was the first event of its kind and drew hundreds of local residents interested in native plants.

Thomsen has been practicing ecological restoration for over 10 years and is in her second year at her residence in Camden where she serves on the Camden Garden Club’s Conservation Committee. She received her Master Degree in Native Rangeland Management and Ecological Restoration from Texas A&M, interned at Wildlife Habitat Federation, and served briefly as their staff ecologist before going out on her own with Gone Native Ecological Restoration Services which works with private landowners creating vital wildlife habitat using native plants as the foundation.

Thomsen is an accomplished ecological educator, having taught gardening with native plants, ecologically sound beekeeping, ecological restoration, and ecologically respectful seed collection, storage and planting.

The oldest garden club in Maine, the Camden Garden Club cultivates the art of gardening to its fullest sense, develops and preserves beauty in and around Camden, and promotes civic improvements, education, and conservation of natural resources. They are currently welcoming new members interested in joining. For more information visit camdengardenclub.org.

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Header Photo: Aidan Kaczynski of AKZ Photography

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